Co-Ability Practices

Renáta Dezső-Dinnyés


This paper explores philosophical and strategic possibilities to understand the concept of co-Ability, and generate critical and new insights to our value system in human centred societal challenges. I apply an experimental approach of research through design, analysed from an interpretive point of view to prove a grounded theory. The paper starts from a prosthesis development presented as a tangible pragmatic procedure. The purpose of the case study is the notion of care through practical design that is marked with concern since the probability of harm can be incised by pure design decisions. Instead of describing the politics of roles and ethics in a situation characterised by ‘design for care’ inspirations, I use reflection on design practice to understand embodied thoughts concerning relationships and the ways of doing. In the second part of the paper, I proceed with literature review in disability research and parallel design strategies. In the final section – in relation to co-design – I introduce the term of ‘co-Ability’ that is rooted in the critical approach of posthuman disability studies outlined by scholars such as Rosi Braidotti. It serves as a broad umbrella term under which we can reconsider the potentials of various entities (biological and artificial) enhancing the shared competence rather than dwelling on the oppressive nature of human-centred norms. Overall, I suggest that the dominant normative vision manifesting in societal challenges is in relational matter with multiple body representations.

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